Autocad 3D animation tutorial

by Design Workshop Sydney

Animating cameras and rendering movies in Autocad 3D is an easy process; we show you how in our Autocad 3D training courses.autocad-3D-animation-tutorial
Please note that in AutoCAD you can’t animate objects or parts in motion. In order to do this you will have to use a program like AutoDesk Viz or 3ds Max (visit the AutoDesk website: You can, however, create an animation from a camera rotating around a 3D object.
First open a file containing a 3D model. Then go to the Top View. Next we create a circular shape using the Circle, Ellipse or the Spline tool. This will comprise our Camera Path. Now we go to the Front View to move the Spline or elliptical path upwards in the Z-axis so that it sits above the objects.
You could, at this stage, change the Visual Style to Conceptual. If you are using a version of Autocad prior to 2009 go to the View drop-down menu and choose Motion Path Animations, then Animation Settings. If you are using a more current version of Autocad (ie. post-2009) simply right-click on the top Ribbon to select Panels, Show Panels and Animations.
Now click on the large Animation Motion Path button, and in the Camera section select the Path radio button, and the Select Path button. Choose the Spline path created earlier, and name it Camera Path, and hit OK. Next in the Target section select the Point radio button and click the Pick Point button. Click on the centre of your model and hit Enter. This is the target point which the camera will point to as it rotates. Now click the Preview button and hit OK.
Change the Frame Rate to 30 Frames per Second, and change the Number of Frames to 300. In Visual Styles choose Conceptual. In the Format section select WMV. And in resolution choose 320 x 240 (this may be changed later of course). Tick the check box marked Corner Deceleration and leave Reverse unticked. Now click Preview to see the camera animate along your chosen path. Hit the Escape button (top left) to stop the animation. If, at this point, you are happy with the appearance simply hit OK. If not click Cancel to make your adjustments. At this point you may decide to make the path wider or higher, in which case use the path’s blue anchor grips to adjust. In the earlier pre-2009 versions you’d have to right-click on the top toolbar to select Camera Adjustment and Swivel & Adjust Distance.
Save the animation to your desktop (for example), name it 1and hit Save. It should take about a minute to render a simple model. Then browse to the desktop and double-click on the resultant WMV file. This will play in Windows Media Player on a PC, or Quick Time on a Mac. You can also click the Full Screen mode button on the bottom right, or press Alt and Enter. Just hit the Escape key to exit the animation. Check the file’s size – it should be only a few megabytes for a small model. Note that  higher resolution renders can be created using other Visual Styles options, but if each frame takes 15 seconds to render, a 600 frame animation would take over 2 hours to render. If we also add realistic materials and lighting (see other blog posts), the rendering time will be even longer, but the results are worth it!
The 3d interface in Autocad is user-friendly and easy to learn, and we take time to teach a broad range of applications in our classes including modeling, materials, lighting and animation. See many examples of our clients’ work on our Facebook page. For more information there are lots of resources on the web, but try the Autodesk site to begin with: Support options and user forums are also available from the home page.
Other related Autocad 3d Blog Posts: